How Australian blockchain startups can solve Australia’s Digital ID and privacy concerns

- June 4, 2024 3 MIN READ
Jacqui Munro
MLC Jacqui Munro addresses the NSW Parliament
What do reducing domestic violence associated with pornography use and data breaches by local clubs across NSW have in common?

The commonality is in part of the solution.

It is solving the digital identity problem. It is being able to overcome the downsides of existing digitally, which is an unregulated free-for-all for kids, and currently necessitates being on countless unknown databases which contain highly personal information that we’d prefer not to share if we didn’t have to.

An anonymised digital, personal identity token, secured through blockchain or distributed network technology could help shift tragic social attitudes towards women and keep our personal information safe from third parties. It’s like an NFT (non-fungible token) for identity verification.

It would allow us to be both accountable AND private.

Only recently has technology advanced to the extent that we have useful options to answer these problems.

Unfortunately the NSW Labor government decided to scrap the role of the Chief Data Scientist, which means we are at serious risk of losing capability and progress when it comes to enabling digital identification and streamlining everyday administrative processes that require identification.

Under the leadership of Minister Victor Dominello the state made huge strides in adopting new technology for efficient and effective digital identification, like drivers licences.

The fderal Labor Government’s commitment to digital identity, continuing the Coalition’s record, is also heartening. Though more should be done, quickly. 

The link between domestic violence and pornography, particularly when it’s consumed by boys under the age of 18, is clear. 

Just like we have agreed as a society that ratings for movies and games appropriately restrict young people from accessing certain material, we need to find ways of limiting access to inappropriate online content like pornography to staunch increasingly extreme, negative attitudes towards women.

It is a difficult task. How do you regulate the internet? How do you enforce the law when young people are breaking it in their own homes.

And in the case of recent Clubs’ data leaks, isn’t it reasonable to enjoy a schnitty at your local club without having to share your licence number, photograph, signature and home address with a community club that is potentially using an offshore company to hold your incredibly sensitive (and valuable) data?

Blockchain technology allows secure digital storage of sensitive information, like a person’s date of birth, and generates a token that represents the existence of the information.

This technology may allow us to hold secure, individual, anonymised identity tokens that are initially verified with the information governments already have about us.

These tokens can then be shared with organisations to prove identity, without taking the risk of sharing sensitive personal information.

For example, non-fungible token (or NFT) gated websites already exist.

Website owners use login technology to authenticate users with their token. We should explore the use of this technology to regulate access to pornography website for underage children.

This method of verification means that no one is sharing personal information about their age and identity, because the token represents that information. 

In the case of data breaches at clubs, instead of sharing what should be private information with unknown recipients, you enter your token, which verifies your identity to the satisfaction of club requirements. 

If, for a legitimate legal reason, personal information is required, a warrant would be an appropriate way to obtain permission to identify individuals.

And the best bit?

Startups like Smart Token Labs, founded in Sydney in 2017, might already have the answers.

Federal and State Governments should explore this technology urgently.


  • The Hon. Jacqui Munro MLC is a Member of Parliament in the NSW Upper House. This is a Member’s Statement she delivered in Parliament last month.